The man was having surgery to remove a benign lump in his abdominal wall. However, the operating team neglected to take out his dentures before the operation, according to one of his doctors, who wrote about the case in BMJ Case Reports on Monday.
After the surgery, the man was constantly finding blood in his mouth, experiencing throat pain and had trouble swallowing. By the time he visited the emergency room six days after the surgery, he couldn’t eat solid food.
Doctors initially suspected he had a respiratory infection and sent him home with antibiotics and steroids.
Two days later, he returned to the ER in even worse shape — unable to to swallow the medication they gave him — and was then treated for severe pneumonia.
When a new set of doctors looked inside the man’s throat, they spotted a semicircular object lying across his larynx. That’s when the man revealed that he had lost his partial dentures during his initial stay at the hospital.
He was subsequently rushed into surgery to remove the false teeth and remained in the hospital for another six days. He continued to suffer complications on multiple occasions for another month before eventually healing.
Doctors say the most likely scenario was that the man had inhaled his false teeth during intubation, a medical procedure involving the insertion of a tube into the body.
“Presence of any dental prosthetics should be clearly documented before and after any procedure, and all members of the theatre team should be aware of the perioperative plan for them,” wrote study lead author Harriet Cunniffe, an ear, nose and throat specialist at James Paget Hospital located on England’s east coast.